mlk_library_dc
901 G Street, NW

From DCPL:

“The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro”

Tuesday, August 26, at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

his talk should be fascinating to anyone interested in Metro, or in the city itself, or more broadly, in how public transit decisions are made. Besides all that, I’m expecting it to be very entertaining, because the book certainly is.

My first thought on looking into Professor Schwag’s book was that it was very densely packed with information (which it is) and might not be a fun read–but it is also that! I’ve found so many wonderful stories in it, that I think it’s safe to say that you will learn a lot, and also are likely to find something that will surprise you, or make you laugh out loud, no matter where you open the book.

An example is this comparison on page 142 of building Metro to the building of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, through permafrost, mountains, and tundra:

“Metro’s builders faced a challenge equal and opposite to that of their pipeline counterparts….As workers in Alaska built 800 miles of pipeline through wilderness all but uninhabited by humans, workers in Washington took up the challenge of pushing 100 miles of rapid transit through a long-settled region densely populated by lawyers.”

Actually, though I’m still chuckling over that line, other parts of The Great Society Subway have already made me realize we all owe a great debt to those lawyers and other activists, for helping us get Metro instead of a spaghetti bowl of highways in DC, and for pushing needed improvements to Metro, like elevators to serve people with mobility problems. (One Metro official seriously proposed training wheelchair riders to use the escalators, balancing on two wheels!)

The more I read, the more I came to realize that no one who wanted to truly understand Washington DC as it is today could do so without reading this book.

The author, Zachary M. Schrag, has a gift for imparting knowledge packaged in details that make the story come alive; I’m looking forward to his talk!”

woodson_house_repair_dc
1538 9th Street, NW in 2010

From a press release:

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today she expects the historic Carter G. Woodson Home to be completed by August 2015 with federal funds she requested, and that a National Park Service (NPS) partnership with a non-profit organization (NPO) will complete the two adjoining homes. This is the first-ever National Park Service (NPS) historic site to be completed through a private-public partnership. She expects a local NPO familiar with the Shaw neighborhood, where the house is located and skilled at raising funds, will serve as a vehicle for bringing tax-exempt funds forward. Because Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s work was fundamental to the creation of Black history as a serious academic discipline, work that was responsible for the annual designation of Black History Month, Norton believes that the approximately $9.5 million necessary to complete the entire project is achievable. Once the project is completed, the main home, where Woodson lived, and the adjacent homes, which will be used to facilitate tourism, will together be considered the “Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site.” (more…)

rename_union_station
Photo by PoPville flickr user ianseanlivingston

From an email:

“A. Philip Randolph was a civil rights leaders, labor organizer, and President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters – bargaining for better wages and improved working conditions. Honoring Mr. Randolph will continue the trend of renaming major national transportation facilities to recognize great American Leaders. The A. Philip Randolph Union Station will provide an opportunity to educate all youth – especially African-American youth – on his contributions. A. Philip Randolph has several accolades, included being an inductee in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Labor Hall of Honor.

Personally, I am a native Washingtonian who grew up in the 1960′s and 1970′s, attended the 1963 March on Washington, witnessed the 1968 riots, and truly participated and witnessed the “re-building” of Washington, D.C. I believe renaming Union Station to honor A. Philip Randolph is a moral, social, and historical imperative.

If you support this effort, please click on the link and sign our petition. And please pass this along to your friends and family.”

StairMural_140707
Photos courtesy Department of General Services

Thanks to a reader for passing on an article from NBC Washington:

“The frescoes are products of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative called PWA – Public Works Administration. The fresco titled “Adolescent America” captures entertainment, movies and fun. The 12-by-40-foot “American Panorama” features scientists, innovation and industry. The plan is to hang both pieces in the school’s new grand entrance.”

And thanks to DGS for sending the photos and these two articles from the 1930s:

1935 12 10_Post_Movies, Comics, Refreshments (PDF)

1934 11 26_Herald_Up Looms the Merry Storm (PDF)

imagejpeg_0

mlk_library_dc_house_history
901 G Street, NW

From a press release:

“The Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. (HCWDC) is pleased to announce the return of its popular House History workshops. They will be held Saturday, August 23, 2014 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW in the Washingtoniana Division (3rd Floor). Two workshop sessions will be held: Workshop I: 10:00 am – 1:30 pm and Workshop II: 12:30pm – 4:00 pm. Lunch will be provided for both sessions. These House History Workshops will guide community historians, of any skill or knowledge level, through the DC Public Library Washingtoniana Division’s collections. Participants will learn how to research the history of their own home or any other historical property.

These workshops will feature presentations by professionals who will guide workshop participants on how to navigate the collection of maps, building permits database, photo archives, microfilm records and the council’s DC Digital Museum.

The House history workshops provide residents with an opportunity to explore the history of their homes including the date the home was built, architect, builder, dates of any improvements, former residents, and how the neighborhood evolved over time. House history research is powerful because it provides that personal connection to the past that few other types of historical research can; it allows anyone to forge a strong sense of connection with their neighborhood and their community whether they have called DC home for years, or just moved in last month.

Workshops are free and open to the public. Registration is required, to attend please sign up here.”

Map 1

“Dear PoPville,

Living in Bloomingdale, I always hear of “Truxton Circle” on North Capitol and Florida Ave that was demolished, and longed for its return. Looking at the old pictures of the park and fountain makes one wonder why it was sacrificed instead of saved like Dupont and others. I was unaware of how many other circles were in DC and were demolished over the years. I ran across a circle in Bloomingdale on an 1887 map of DC that I had never heard of. It was at Rhode Island Ave NW, U Street NW, and North Capitol Street It was called Sedgwick Circle and Rhode Island Ave actually ended there and did not continue on into North East.

In the zoomed in image you can see Lincoln Ave (now Lincoln Road), Ledroit Park, Glenwood and Prospect Hill Cemeteries, Boundary Street (now Florida Ave) etc.

I wonder if anyone has any info on Sedgwick Circle?”

Ed. Note: On flickr an image of the same map uploaded by scenicartisan says:

“Sedgwick Circle DC 1887

This is the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and North Capitol, currently an overpass. the red lines indicate PROPOSED streets. I assume this circle was never realized.”

Map 2

mystery_building
mystery building

I was going through some of my old flickr archives and saw the building above and can’t for the life of me figure out where this was. At first I thought it was the old Bi-Rite supermarket and current home to Meridian Pint at 11th and Park Rd, NW but that’s not it. So anyone recognize this one? It almost looks like it could be Wonderland but it’s only one floor and Wonderland is two. Maybe it was a photo someone sent me because I’m totally blanking. Where is it? What is it now? It’s killing me!

Side note: I was looking at the awesome old (now gone) mural from the side of Bohemian Caverns at 11th and U St, NW:

bohemian_caverns_mural

legacy_memorial_park_rendering(2)_500px
Rendering via DGS

From a press release:

“Mayor Vincent C. Gray broke ground [Sunday] at the site of the new Legacy Memorial Park, which will honor the nine people who perished during the 2009 Metrorail collision. Mayor Gray was joined by family representatives, members of the nearby community and congregants of Greater Saint Paul Baptist Church. The $1.8 million memorial – which will be located across the street from the church – is scheduled for completion in December.

“The Legacy Memorial Park will honor and celebrate the lives of those involved in the events of that day through reflective design and artwork,” Mayor Gray said. “This park will be a public space for mourning and connecting to the human spirit. We will never forget the nine lives lost that day, and we will forever honor the heroism of our first responders.”

The winning design team of sculptor Barbara Liotta and architects Lucrecia Laudi and Julian Hunt of Hunt Laudi Studio have created a vision for the park that creates a space for people to connect with nature’s beauty amid a setting of artistic reflection to honor the victims, emergency personnel and countless lives altered by the tragic accident. The design team was selected through a competitive process conducted in partnership by the Office of the City Administrator (OCA) and the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities (DCCAH). An Art Selection Panel convened by DCCAH, representing family members’ diverse interests and expertise, reviewed the qualifications of the artists and the finalists’ designs. Bennett Paschen Joint Venture will be the general contractor to build the memorial park.

“Through art, we can create a space and place that adds new meaning to one of the most unfortunate days in the District’s recent history. The families, as well as the public, will have room to reflect,” said DCCAH Executive Director Lionell Thomas. “The memorial incorporates both families’ and citizens’ voices.”

The park design includes nine sculptural artworks, a memorial wall with an inscription written by family of the remembered, landscaping and hardscaping, as well as the installation of new lighting and streetscape amenities.

The Legacy Memorial Park is located at the entrance of the Blair Road Community Garden in Ward 4 at the intersection of New Hampshire and South Dakota Avenues NE.”

dcusa_2005
Photo by PoPville flickr user rockcreek

For the photo above rockcreek orients us:

Fourteenth and Irving Streets, NW DCUSA site, NW corner of 14th and Irving Sts., NW, 10/28/05. Looking SE to 14th and Irving from Hiatt Pl.

Yesterday we noted google street view’s awesome historical photos that go back to 2007. I was searching the PoPville flickr pool earlier today looking for a vacant lot and stumbled across these wild photos from rockcreek. We’ve seen this site before but it’s truly amazing to remember what parts of Columbia Heights looked like in 2005. For the photo below:

Fourteenth and Irving Streets, NW DCUSA site, NW corner of 14th and Irving Sts., NW, 10/28/05. Looking east to 14th from Hiatt Pl.

5290677399_ace7e86d02_z
Photo by PoPville flickr user rockcreek